The word ‘divination’ comes from the Latin word divinare (meaning to foresee by inspiration by a god) and divinus (meaning divine).

Divination is a method of gaining insight into a question or situation by the use of a process. Diviners have been reading for many hundreds of years and as you will see, there are some pretty whacky ways of answering questions.

Divination is often mistaken for simply fortune telling but it goes much deeper than that. It uses quite formal and often ritualised ways of gaining insight.

Here’s a list of methods of divination. Some appear in more than one category. You’ll be surprised by how many forms of divination there are and also how bizarre a few seem to us now.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR

sheep infiltrating group of alpacas

Divination by the study of animal behaviour is called theriomancy / zoomancy

Divination by the study of ant behaviour is called myrmomancy

Divination by the study of bird formations is called augury

Divination by the study of bird migration is called orniscopy / ornithomancy / auspicy / auspication / avimancy

Divination by the study of cats behaviour is called ailuromancy / aeluromancy / felidomancy

Divination by the study of crab behaviour is called nggàm

Divination by the study of fish behaviour is called ichthyomancy

Divination by the study of horse behaviour is called hippomancy

Divination by the study of rodent behaviour is called myomancy

Divination by the study of rooster behaviour is called alectryomancy / alectoromancy

Divination by the study of snakes behaviour is called ophidiomancy / ophiomancy

Divination by the study of spider behaviour is called nggàm

Divination by the study of the howling of dogs is called ololygmancy

 

ANIMALS  

Divination by the study of animal excrement is called spatilomancy

Divination by the study of animal horoscopes is called dōbutsu uranai

Divination by the study of beetle tracks is called skatharomancy

Divination by the study of bird formations is called augury

Divination by the study of bird migration is called orniscopy / ornithomancy / auspicy / auspication / avimancy

Divination by the study of bones is called osteomancy

Divination by the study of chance encounters with animals is called apantomancy

the study of cracks formed on a turtle's plastron - the underside of the shell - is called plastromancy

Divination by the study of cracks on the underside of a turtle’s shell (the plastron) is called plastromancy

Divination by the study of dogs is called canomancy

Divination by the study of eggs is called oomancy / ooscopy

Divination by the study of excrement is called scatomancy

Divination by the study of frogs is called batraquomancy / batrachomancy

Divination by the study of seeds in bird excrement is called stercomancy

Divination by the study of spiders is called arachnomancy

Divination by the study of the howling of dogs is called ololygmancy

Divination by the study of the shoulder blades of cows, sheep and goats is called scapulimancy / scapulomancy / spatulamancyomoplatoscopy

Divination by the study of wild hogs is called hyomancy

Divination by the study of auras is called auramancy

Divination by the study of dragons is called dracomancy

Divination by the study of insects is called entomomancy / entomancy

Divination by the study of pig bladders is called choriomancy 

 

BURNING / FIRE / SMOKE / MELTING

Divination by the study of burning is called causimancy / causimomancy / empyromancy

Divination by the study of burning coals is called anthracomancy

Divination by the study of burning laurel wreaths is called daphnomancy

Divination by the study of burning sage or figs is called botanomancy

Divination by the study of burning straw with an iron is called sideromancy

Divination by the study of burning writing onto bark is called stigonomancy

Many forms of divination use fire burning and ash

Divination by the study of fire is called pyromancy / pyroscopy:

Divination by the study of flame is called lampadomancy

Divination by the study of melting wax is called carromancy

Divination by the study of shapes in smoke is called turifumy

Divination by the study of smoke is called capnomancy

Divination by the study of smoke or ash from incense is called libanomancy

Divination by the study of soot is called spodomancy

Divination by the study of the appearance of burning wood is called xylomancy

Divination by the study of the ashes of a specifically sacrificial or ritual fire is called cineromancy / ceneromancy

Divination by the study of tree bark ashes, by the study of sacrificial or ritual fire ashes, or human sacrificial victim ashes is called tephramancy / tephromancy

 

CARDS

Divination by the study of cards is called cartomancy

Divination by the study of tarot is called taromancy / tarotmancy

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 CASTING

Divination by the study of beans is called favomancy

Divination by the study of casting is called cleromancy

dominoes are used for divinationDivination by the study of dominoes is called domino divination

Divination by the study of Ogham letters* is called Ogham casting

*an Early Medieval alphabet used to write the early Irish language

Divination by the study of throwing stones on the floor, practised at Taoist temples is called poe divination

Divination by the study of dice is called astragalomancy / astragalamancy / cubomancy

Divination by the study of runes is called runecasting /Runic divination

 

DOWSING

Rose quartz pendulum

Divination by the study of dowsing for water is called water witching

Divination by the study of dowsing with rods, pendulums or other cylindrical tools is called radiesthesia

Divination by the study of pendulums is called pallomancy

Divination by the use of a divining rod is called dowsing

 

EVENTS

Divination by the study of apt occasion is called chronomancy

Divination by the study of chance events is called cledonism / cledonomancy

Divination by the study of experiment / experience is called empirimancy

Divination by the study of things accidentally seen or heard is called transataumancy

Divination by the study of omens is called cryptomancy

 

FLOWERS / PLANTS / TREES

Divination by the study of auras is called auramancy

Divination by the study of bamboo is called kau cim

Divination by the study of beans is called favomancy

Divination by the study of burning writing onto bark is called stigonomancy

Divination by the study of fig leaves is called sycomancy

Divination by the study of flowers is called anthomancy

Divination by the study of flowers’ feelings is called floriography / floromancy

Divination by the study of fractals is called fractomancy

flowers plants and trees are all used for divination

Divination by the study of fruit is called fructomancy / fructimancy

Divination by the study of leaves is called phyllomancy

Divination by the study of observing patterns produced by the chewing of gum, gum wax, or products produced by the L. styraciflua tree is called styramancy

Divination by the study of rose petals is called phyllorhodomancy

Divination by the study of tea leaves or coffee grounds is called tasseography / tasseomancy

Divination by the study of the appearance of plants is called phytognomy

Divination by the study of the shape or texture of wood is called xylomancy

Divination by the study of trees, especially oaks, yews, or mistletoe is called dendromancy 

 

FOOD AND DRINK

Divination by the study of barley is called alphitomancy

Divination by the study of barley cakes is called crithomancy / critomancy

Divination by the study of beans is called favomancy

Divination by the study of cheese is called tyromancy / tiromancy

Divination by the study of flour is called aleuromancy

Divination by the study of fruit is called fructomancy / fructimancy

Divination by the study of onion sprouts is called cromnyomancy / cromniomancy

Divination by the study of salt is called alomancy /Halomancy / adromancy)

old advert for reading tea leaves

Divination by the study of tea leaves or coffee grounds is called tasseography / tasseomancy

Divination by the study of wine in a brass bowl is called cottabomancy / cottobomancy

Divination by the study of wine is called oenomancy / oinomancy

Divination by the study of fortune cookies is called aleuromancy

 

HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

Divination by the study of breast feeding a baby is called mazomancy

Divination by the study of experiment / experience is called empirimancy

Divination by the study of feelings of fear is called phobomancy

Divination by the study of foolishness is called moromancy

Divination by the study of laughter is called geloscopy

Looking over ones shoulder is a form of divination

Divination by the study of looking over one’s shoulder is called retromancy

Divination by the study of overheard words is called cledonism / cledonomancy

Divination by the study of random shouts and cries heard in crowds is called clamancy

Divination by the study of second glance or double take is called deuteroscopy

Divination by the study of sitting in a drawn circle is called aspidomancy

Divination by the study of things accidentally seen or heard is called transataumancy

Divination by the study of walking is called ambulomancy

 

HUMAN BODY

Divination by the study of blemishes is called moleosophy

Divination by the study of blood is called hematomancy / haematomancy

blowing is a form of divination

Divination by the study of blowing is called pneumancy

Divination by the study of bones is called osteomancy

Divination by the study of breast feeding a baby is called mazomancy

Divination by the study of bumps on the skin is called bumpology

Divination by the study of buttocks is called rumpology / natimancy

Divination by the study of convulsions is called spasmatomancy

Divination by the study of dizziness is called gyromancy

Divination by the study of dripping blood is called dririmancy / driromancy

Divination by the study of eggs is called oomancy / ooscopy

Divination by the study of excrement is called scatomancy

The study of eye colour is a form of divination

Divination by the study of eye color is called iridology

Divination by the study of eyes is called oculomancy

Divination by the study of faces is called physiognomy / physiognomancy

Divination by the study of finger movements is called dactylomancy

Divination by the study of fingernails and toenails is called onychomancy / onymancy / onimancy

Divination by the study of hands is called cheirognomy / chirognomy

Divination by the study of itches is called urticariaomancy

Divination by the study of lips is called labiomancy

Divination by the study of liver is called hepatoscopy / hepatomancy

Divination by the study of navels is called omphalomancy

Divination by the study of one’s own shoulders is called armomancy

Divination by the study of palms is called cheiromancy  / chiromancy / palmistry / palm reading

Divination by the study of physical appearance is called anthroposcopy

Divination by the study of ridges on the breastbone is called sternomancy

Divination by the study of skulls is called cephalomancy / craniognomy

Divination by the study of spots on the skin is called maculomancy

Divination by the study of teeth is called odontomancy

Divination by the study of the configuration of one’s brain is called phrenology / organoscopy

Divination by the study of the face is called schematomancy

Divination by the study of the human form is called somatomancy

Studying sneezes is a form of divination

Divination by the study of the interpretation of sneezes is called ptarmoscopy / ptarmoscopie

Divination by the study of the lines of the forehead is called metoposcopy / metopomancy

Divination by the study of the patterns produced by a collection of human hair is called pilimancy

Divination by the study of the soles of one’s feet is called podomancy / pedomancy / cartopedy

Divination by the study of auras is called auramancy

Divination by the study of biorhythms is called biorhythmic divination

Divination by the study of bodily fluids is called drimimancy / drymimancy

Divination by the study of moles on the body is called meilomancy

Divination by the study of phrenological notations is called psychognomy

Divination by the study of placenta is called amniomancy

Divination by the study of umbilical cords is called umbilicomancy

Divination by the study of urine is called uromancy / urimancy

 

MODERN WORLD

Divination by the study of computer oracles is called cybermancy

shufflemancy is a new form of divination where the random song brings a message

Divination by the use of an electronic media player such as an electronic playlist, iPod, or other medium wherein one skips a certain number of songs and the lyrics and/or tune of the song is the answer to the divinatory question is called shufflemancy

Divination by the study of films is called videomancy

Divination by the study of technology is called technomancy

 

NATURAL WORLD

Divination by the study of aerial visions to interpret atmospheric conditions is called chaomancy (subdivision of aeromancy)

Divination by the study of atmospheric conditions is called aeromancy

Divination by the study of celestial bodies is called astrology  / astromancy / astroscopy

Divination by the study of clouds is called nephomancy

Divination by the study of comet tails is called cometomancy

Divination by the study of constellations is called roadomancy

Divination by the study of earth is called geomancy

The study of gemstones is a form of divination

Divination by the study of gems or stones is called lithomancy

Divination by the study of geography and geological formations is called topomancy

Divination by the study of light is called photomancy

Divination by the study of lightning and electricity is called electromancy

Divination by the study of lightning and thunder is called meteoromancy

Divination by the study of lightning is called astrapomancy

Divination by the study of minerals is called oryctomancy

Divination by the study of mountains is called oromancy

Divination by the study of natural phenomena is called portenta / ostenta

Divination by the study of oil is called eleomancy / elaeomancy

Divination by the study of pebbles is called pessomancy

Divination by the study of rainwater is called hydatomancy

Divination by the study of rainwater is called hydatomancy

Divination by the study of sand is called amathomancy

Divination by the study of shade is called umbromancy

Divination by the study of shells is called conchomancy

Divination by the study of the aspect of the Stars at a person’s birth is called horoscopy

Divination by the study of the moon is called selenomancy

Divination by the study of the sky is called uranomancy / ouranomancy

the study of the sun is called solaromancy

Divination by the study of the sun is called solaromancy

Divination by the study of the four elements is called stareomancy

Divination by the study of thunder and lightning is called ceraunoscopy

Divination by the study of thunder is called brontomancy / brontoscopy

Divination by the study of wind is called anemoscopy /anemomancy

Divination by the study of meteors is called meteormancy

 

NUMBERS / READING / WRITING  

Divination by the study of a letter in a written language is called literomancy

Divination by the study of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase is called arithmancy

Divination by the study of birth dates is called genethlialogy

Divination by the study of books or lines is called stichomancy

Divination by burning writing onto bark is called stigonomancy

Divination by the study of burning writing onto bark (pyrography) is called stigonomancy

Divination by the study of dice is called astragalomancy / astragalamancy / cubomancy

Divination by the study of dominoes is called domino divination

Divination by the study of drawing sixteen lines in sand is called sikidy

Divination by the study of letters in a name is called onomancy / onomomancy / nomancy

Divination by the study of numbers and letters is called isopsephy

Divination by the study of numbers is called numerology

Divination by the study of Ogham letters is called Ogham casting

Divination by the study of poetry is called rhapsodomancy

Divination by the study of randomly opening a dictionary is called dictiomancy

Divination by the study of handwriting is called graphology / graptomancy

Divination by the study of the aspect of the Stars at a person’s birth is called horoscopy

Divination by the study of the Bible is called bibliomancy

Divination by the study of the Hebrew alphabet is called gematria

Divination by the study of the I Ching or the accompanying I Ching manual is called I Ching divination

Divination by the study of the Iliad and the Odyssey or the Aeneid is called stoicheomancy / stoichomancy

Homer’s writings were held in similar esteem to the Christian Bible or the Muslim Quran, as were Virgil’s writings to the Romans, making them the basic — or elementary — reading material in each culture) 

Divination by the study of things on paper is called chartomancy

Divination by the study of words is called logomancy

Divination by the study of writing individual letters is called grammomancy

Divination by the study of initials is called notarikon / netrikon

Divination by the study of logarithms is called logarithmancy

Divination by the study of mathematics is called mathemancy

 

MAGIC

Divination by the study of black magic is called is called nigromancy

Divination by the study of magic is called is called metagnomy

Divination by the study of rods, sticks, or wands is called rhabdomancy / rabdomancy 

 

RELIGION

Divination by the study of a prophecy from the Gods is called theomancy

Divination by the study of altars is called areolation

Divination by the study of incense is called knissomancy

Divination by the study of incense is called knissomancy

Divination by the study of saints is called hagiomancy

Divination by the study of speeches by those supposed to be possessed by a divine spirit is called enthusiasm

Divination by the study of the Hebrew alphabet is called gematria

Divination by the study of the Kabbalah is called kabbalah

Divination by the study of icons is called iconomancy

Divination by the study of idols is called idolomancy

Divination by the study of sacred relics is called archeomancy 

 

SACRIFICE

Divination by the study of human sacrifice is called anthropomancy

Divination by the study of the entrails of a sacrificed beast is called aruspicina / hieromancy / hieroscopy

Divination by the study of the remains of sacrificed animals is called extispicy / extispication

Divination by the study of tree bark ashes, sacrificial or ritual fire ashes or human sacrificial victim ashes is called tephramancy / tephromancy

Divination by the study of rooster sacrifice is called alectormancy /alectromancy

 

SCRYING

Divination by gazing at reflective objects is called crystal gazing 

Gazing into a crystal ball is a form of divination

Divination by gazing into a crystal ball is called gastromancy / crystallomancy / spheromancy / crystal ball gazing

 

Divination by gazing into mirrors is called catoptromancy / captromancy / enoptromancy

Divination by  gazing into water is called hydromancy

Divination by gazing is called scrying (shortened from descrying) 

 

SLEEP / DREAMS

Divination by the study of dreams is called oneiromancy / oneiroscopy

Divination by the study of sleep is called hypnomancy / narcomancy

Divination by the study of sleeping is called meconomancy

 

SOUNDS

Divination by the study of laughter is called geloscopy

Divination by the study of sounds is called alveromancy

Divination by the study of speeches by those supposed to be possessed by the study of a divine spirit is called enthusiasm

Divination by the study of striking gongs or copper bowls is called chalcomancy

Divination by the study of the howling of dogs is called ololygmancy

Divination by the study of the howling of dogs is called ololygmancy

 

WATER

Divination by the study of a basin of water is called lecanomancy / lecanoscopy

Divination by the study of dowsing for water is called water witching

Divination by the study of dripping wax in water is called ceromancy/ceroscopy

Divination by the study of fountains is called pegomancy

Divination by the study of gazing into water is called hydromancy

Divination by the study of ice is called cryomancy

Divination by the study of ice is called cryomancy

Divination by the study of molten metal dropped into water is called molybdomancy

Divination by the study of rainwater is called hydatomancy

Divination by the study of shapes molten lead makes when poured in water is called plumbomancy

Divination by the study of swirling water in a cup is called cyclicomancy

Divination by the study of the four elements is called stareomancy

Divination by the study of water current is called bletonism / bletonomancy

Divination by the study of water vessels exposed to air is called aeromancy  / eromancy

 

WEAPONS

Divination by the study of arrows is called belomancy / bolomancy

Divination by the study of axes is called axiomancy / axinomancy

Divination by the study of swords or knives is called macharomancy

 

OBJECTS

Divination by the study of axes is called axiomancy / axinomancy

Divination by the study of coins is called numismatomancy

Divination by the study of cups is called cyathomancy

Divination by the study of finger rings is called dactyliomancy

Divination by the study of keys is called cleidomancy / clidomancy

Divination by the study of large objects is called macromancy

Divination by the study of Mahjong tiles is called mahjong divination

Divination by the study of needles acultomancy / acutomancy)

Divination by the study of old shoes is called scarpomancy

Divination by the study of old shoes is called scarpomancy

Divination by the study of rods, sticks, or wands is called rhabdomancy / rabdomancy

Divination by the study of sharp objects is called aichmomancy

Divination by the study of small objects is called micromancy

Divination by the study of spindles is called sphondulomancy

Divination by the study of statues is called agalmatomancy

Divination by the study of weights is called zygomancy

Divination by the study of wheels is called cyclomancy

Divination by the study of wheel ruts is called trochomancy

 

OCCULT

Divination by the study of black magic is called nigromancy

Divination by the study of demons is called demonomancy

Divination by the study of speaking to corpses is called necromancy

Divination by the study of summoning damned souls is called necyomancy

 

…and the BIZARRE

Divination by the study of boiling a donkey’s head is called cephaleonomancy / cephalonomancy

Bouncing Pearls photo by Kenneth Forland

Bouncing Pearls photo by Kenneth Forland. See more of his work at Fine Art America.

Divination by the study of bouncing pearls is called margaritomancy

Divination by the study of brushed cloth is called pecthimancy / petchimancy

Divination by the study of dust is called abacomancy

Divination by the study of hanging sieves is called cosquinomancy / coscinomancy

Divination by the study of the ravings of lunatics is called chresmomancy

Divination by the study of things found on the road is called symbolomancy

Divination by the study of fashion is called stolisomancy

So now you know there is a lot more to divination than Tarot and Crystal Balls. My favourite has to be shufflemancy. What’s yours?